Home > Polemics > Some thoughts on Tom Wells on John Owen on the Sabbath

Some thoughts on Tom Wells on John Owen on the Sabbath

Copyright © 2016 Richard C. Barcellos. All rights reserved.[1]

One issue I did not interact with in the RBTR articles that I think needs mention at this point concerns John Owen on the Sabbath. In subsequent discussion Owen will be consulted on this issue. Wells discusses Owen in one of the later chapters of his book. Attempting to prove that there is controversy on the issue of the Sabbath in the churches due to leaning too heavily on creeds, Wells says of Owen:

I fear that John Owen himself illustrates this. I mentioned that I estimate Owen’s defense of the Sabbath runs to as much as 90,000 words. . . . Surely in doing this Owen discussed the relevant biblical material very thoroughly indeed!

But sadly the evidence shows otherwise. And the evidence is not debatable. . . .

What does Owen say on Galatians 4:10-11? Nothing. According to the index to the seven volumes of the commentary on Hebrews which includes the essay on the Sabbath, Owen makes no significant reference to this major Sabbath passage whatever, in the commentary proper or in the essay.

What does Owen say about Romans 14:5-6, the passage in which Paul shows his conviction that days are a matter of indifference? Surely one cannot offer a New Covenant Sabbath day without referring to each of these two passages—but Owen does it.

And what of Colossians 2:16? Here Owen is not completely silent. In his essay on the Sabbath he cites this verse in passing at least twice.[2] In addition he has a fuller discussion worthy of study and comment.[3]




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